PETALING JAYA: Early Johor state elections may be used to trigger a general election this year, according to political analyst Azmi Hassan, while another analyst, Awang Azman Pawi, is positive that a general election will be “done and dusted” by July.
Azmi, a former Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lecturer, said those in favour of an early general election are likely to go all out to press for Johor state elections soon as Barisan Nasional is likely to win more seats in the state.
The Johor state government, led by Barisan Nasional, has a majority of only one seat following the death of Kempas state assemblyman Osman Sapian of Bersatu in December.
The government bench comprises BN with 16 seats, Bersatu 11 and PAS one, while the opposition Pakatan Harapan has 27 seats.
Azmi said the state government could continue to function even with a one-seat majority but there would be pressure for fresh elections, on the basis that it would be difficult to continue with such a narrow margin.
“The aim is most likely to call for a general election by the middle of this year,” he added.
Socio-political analyst Awang Azman Pawi believes that Johor will go to the polls soon.
He said Covid-19 would no longer be a factor, as tighter SOPs were imposed during the recent state elections in Melaka and Sarawak.
Early elections in Johor would also allow BN to use their machinery to focus on parliamentary seats in Johor and in other states, he told FMT.
Fairing better in state polls will further boost BN’s perception to win more seats in GE15, he said, causing pressure on Ismail to hold polls this year.
“By July it (the general election) should be done and dusted,” he said.
A PH insider from Johor said none of the PH assemblymen plan to move against the state government, especially as Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar said last year that he would not hesitate to dissolve the state assembly if there was a situation that could cause the state government to collapse.
He said PH would prefer to have elections next year, and to use the time to strengthen their position after the poor performance in the Melaka and Sarawak elections.
Several days ago, an Umno insider told FMT there were efforts to pressure Ismail to call for a general election by abstaining in a Dewan Rakyat vote in March on controversial amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
Such absentions would weaken Ismail as the rift in Umno is said to be widening between a camp backing him and another backing party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Traditionally, Barisan Nasional governments have been headed by a prime minister who is also the Umno president.
Ismail, an Umno vice-president and a senior minister in Muhyiddin Yassin’s government, became prime minister following a game of political upmanship between Umno and Bersatu which brought down the Muhyiddin government.
Power within the party remains in the hands of the president, who has the final say in the selection of candidates for any election.
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